From Porto Alegre's Forum to Trieste 'A. Volta' High School, the asbestos problem ten years after the establishment of the International Day in memory of killer fiber's victims: the importance of informing and prevention.

The asbestos problem, exactly a decade after the World Forum in Porto Alegre (Brazil) when participants decided to establish the International Day for the killer fiber’s victims to be celebrated every year on April 28th, is more relevant than ever and far from being solved. The important thing is to talk about it, of course. But the act of moving from theory to practice unfortunately still continues to find obstacles. Perhaps for business interests (see the list of countries that produce and market), of course… although not always, however, this is one of the reasons why we can’t get rid of the dangerous material. Let’s say with sincerity: sometimes, more damage is done by ignorance and, above all, lack of information, especially for younger generations, totally unaware of the topic.

EARA onlus has long opted for a prevention policy based on educational information in full synergy with institutions, particularly with schools, especially with technical institutes and scientific high schools for their specific field of study.

As in 2014, this year the celebration of the X World Day for Asbestos Victims was performed in Trieste for the growing number of patients and deaths for asbestos-related diseases, one the highest in Italy together with nearby Monfalcone. The program, divided in three parts, was opened with the commemoration at ‘A. Volta’ Technical High School of the asbestos victims and a welcoming address by headmistress Clementina Frescura, the municipal assessors Antonella Grim (Education and Research) and Umberto Laureni (Environment), the President of the Regional Commission for Asbestos Mr. Fernando Della Ricca and EARA’s President, Ph.D. Paolo Tomatis.

Ms. Grim pointed out that Trieste, after years of total disinterest, has started a virtuous cycle with prevention and remediation in local schools, thanks to the support of Prof. Laureni’s department and the Municipal Technical Bureau.

Concerning the Show ‘Asbestos without borders’ – starring Giustina Testa and art direction by Sabrina Morena – Prof. Laureni, talking to the students, said that this is performance that will not bore anyone and tells about things you can hardly remain indifferent: man dies at work, rather than by road accidents… There are workers who die prematurely, as the ones exposed to asbestos, which effects will be carried on for a long time.

Following the Show, the VI Seminar ‘Asbestos, an unsolved issue’ for High Schools took place, with keynote speach by Mr. Renzo Simoni (Prevention Department for Health and Safety at Work) on asbestos and best practices, remediation and waste management. This was an excellent opportunity to experience officially for the first time two of the seven Modules (5 and 6) part of the Work Safer Set for ABClean EU Project. EARA is one of the partners together with other seven ones, as evidenced by President Tomatis in his speech.

Della Ricca said that Prof. Laureni was one of the pioneers of Regional commission for Asbestos actual policies. Exposed workers and their families need attentions: Trieste and Monfalcone are among the most contaminated areas of Italy. For politicians, the asbestos problem is a big fuss, and it will not be solved creating landfills, but remediating. Young people must achieve the right sensibility and information.

Sergio Sghedoni